Food has brought different types of people together for centuries. It’s a common bond in a world of differences, and restaurants celebrate that common bond as gathering places for people to meet, talk, and enjoy food. How will the Trump presidency, an administration that many see as being built on discord and divisiveness, affect the restaurant industry?
Many restaurant employees are worried about Trump’s presidency. Undocumented immigrants working in America’s kitchens and farms fear they’re going to be deported. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 1.2 million restaurant workers in the U.S. are undocumented. A group of restaurant owners from the Restaurant Opportunities Center United hold meetings to express their employees’ concerns. In addition, many restaurants around the country have singed on to become Sanctuary Restaurants. Sanctuary Restaurants display signs in their windows stating that they are safe place for undocumented immigrants, and that they have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism and xenophobia. While its long been common not to mix business and politics, in the age of Trump, many restaurateurs are no longer ignoring the political nature of their work.
On the other hand, if Trump repeals Obamacare, it could be viewed as a win for restaurant industry. According to Andy Puzder, CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Obamacare is hurting the restaurant business. Puzder claims that Obamacare is reducing consumer spending and likens the health care policy to a government-mandates restaurant recession. While that may sound harsh, in 2016, restaurant traffic declined 2.8% from January to September.
President Trump loves fast food. Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, has an obsessive hatred of Dippin’ Dots, the “ice cream of the future.” Long story short: tastes in food are as polarizing as the Trump presidency’s probable effect on the restaurant industry.